Do we need to be concerned about a new iPhone face-recognition app?

The Huffington Post has got itself in a twist about a new iPhone face-recognition app, Recognizr, that it claims will enable someone to take a person’s picture and instantly give them access to all their social networking details. Except that isn’t quite the case. As one (largely ignored) commenter points out, it’s not quite as the HP portrays it. It isn’t an open system – the original story (linked in the HP one) says that you have to opt in to the system, and upload your photo, and other social networking sites you want to be linked, into the developer’s own database. So only those who have decided they want to be part of this system can be recognised and linked. It’s only a rather small step from existing methods of social networking, and perhaps considered as the face recognition equivalent of giving out a business card. There’s the potential there for all kinds of development from this though, I would agree, but this isn’t (yet) a stalker’s or a marketer’s dream.

You can find the Swedish developer, The Astonishing Tribe (err, TAT!), here, and the source story, which is just slightly more circumspect, from Popular Science, here.

(Thanks to David Lyon for the link to the HP story).

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

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